Growing number of cases of beak deformities in birds in Chandigarh has alarmed the city’s environmentalists. Bird enthusiasts and ornithologists are coming across an increasing number of beak deformities cases in recent times, even as specific causes for such deformities remain unknown.
“Factors resulting in such deformities can include nutritional deficiencies, environmental contaminants, bacterial or viral (poecivirus) infections, or, fungal or parasitic infections. Trauma can also cause bird’s beak to become deformed. The trend has been reported for the last many years. Beak deformities can range from slightly misshapen beaks to severely elongated beaks,” said Mitinder Sekhon, president of Chandigarh Bird Club.
Chandigarh has a total of 397 documented bird species, including residential and migratory birds, and deformities have been reported especially in the residential species, including parakeets, dove, common myna, swallow and wiretailed swallow, among others.
A Sector 47 resident and bird enthusiast, Tilak Sharma, found a parakeet with an overgrown beak at a public park recently. He said, “It was not the first time when I came across such a bird, whose beak was completely damaged and overgrown. The particular parakeet was struggling hard to eat its natural diet, which is fruits and red chilly, which are full of vitamin A.”
Principal Scientist with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Dr Vibhu Parkash said, “Nutritious imbalance also leads to deformities in birds. It is scientifically proven that birds suffering with beak deformities cannot survive for a long time. There are cases when captive birds suffer from deformities due to the wrong diet. Every bird has its natural diet. There are bird species that prefer grains and the same species prefer insects for their chicks. There are birds which cannot be fed meat and there are birds which can feed on meat and other vegetable items as well. A babbler can eat both diets. However, seeds of jawar, bajra and maize are the best for birds.”